Reader Submission - Mahsuri

Rav was kind of enough to share a piece of Malaysian history. Stop by Rav'N's Realm to see what other treasures you may find.

First off, I would like to thank Andrea for putting up with me for a week and allowing me to make a guest post. I was originally going to tell you about one of the more common ghost stories or legends that gets told around campfires and dormitories in Malaysia. But then I remembered the legend of Mahsuri. This is a piece of real Malaysian history that has a somewhat paranormal bent to it. This is how the story goes.

Around 200 years ago, during the time of the powerful Sultanates of the Malay Archipelago there lived a young woman named Mahsuri. Legend says she was the most beautiful woman in all of Langkawi. Mahsuri was the daughter of a local businessman called Padak Maya and the wife of Mat Darus, a brave warrior and son of the chief of Langkawi, Dato Karma Jaya. As was required of him, her husband had to go to war, leaving Mahsuri behind to fend for herself. It was during this time that Mahsuri befriended a young man named Deraman.

Fueled by gossip from Wan Mahora, the jealous wife of the village headman, their close friendship lead others in her village to believe that there was more to the relationship. Many versions of the legend claim that there were those who were so envious of Mahsuri's beauty that they perpetuated the gossip. Eventually the rumors grew strong enough that the villagers openly accused her of allowing Deraman to stay in her house. Mahsuri pleaded her innocence, but no one believed her.

Her father-in-law, sentenced Mahsuri to death at Padang Hangus, following the old Islamic punishment for adultery; Mahsuri was to be tied to a tree (or pole), and stabbed to death. Legend has it that those conducting her execution had to use a special kris (short dagger) as no ordinary kris could kill her. When they stabbed her, with her father’s kris, white blood flowed from her wound, signifying her innocence. With her dying breath, Mahsuri placed a seven generation curse on Langkawi. Some say the curse was that the island would experience 7 generations of bad luck, while others say the curse was that the island would stay barren for 7 generations, and yet other say it was a curse for 7 generations of tragedy.

Not long after her death, Siam attacked Pulau Langkawi and many villagers were killed and some captured by the Siamese. Mahsuri's husband, Mat Daruss was too heart broken and left Pulau Langkawi with his son to reside in Phuket, Thailand. Research has to date uncovered no less than 30 descendents of Mahsuri who now reside in Phuket.

Many locals of Langkawi believe the legend to be true, citing the Siamese invasion of 1821 and decades of failed crops that followed Mahsuri's death. It is only at the end of the 20th century, after the seven generations have supposedly come to pass, that Langkawi began to prosper as a tourist destination.

Maybe the whole story is true or maybe it has been romanticized somewhat. I can tell you that I visited Langkawi around the time the curse was supposedly lifted and we saw many of the locals rejoicing because they were finally getting some proper rainfall on the island, which they haven't gotten for decades. This is a tropical island that we're talking about. Whether that really was a heavier rainfall than they've gotten in a few hundred years or not, nobody can really confirm.

If you ever visit Pulau Langkawi in Malaysia, Mahsuri’s restored tomb at Padang Padang Mat Sirat is a popular tourist destination.

Retrieved from:, Sejarah Malaysia,


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